Friday, February 26, 2016

STUDIES IN TITUS (pt 9)

NOT GIVEN TO WINE

A bishop/pastor/overseer/elder/leader of the church should not be one who is given to wine. (Tit. 1:7)


The first thing to notice here brings out the sarcastic side of my personality—why should a leader not be given to grape juice?

Those who hold to a tee-totaling interpretation of scripture say that “wine” in the Bible means ‘grape juice.’ (Click here for a dissertation to this effect that uses logic more than scripture.)

Of course, there are those who say that one cannot tell the difference between wine and plain grape juice based solely on the words used in the Bible. “You must get it from the context.”

Their interpretation follows the line “if it’s negative, then it refers to alcohol. If it is positive, then it refers to grape juice.”

From that line of thinking we would clearly determine that Jesus saved the Welch’s Grape Juice until after the store brand had been consumed.

Wine is purely an alcoholic beverage, and the scripture has plenty to say about its use—both negatively and positively.

Wine is not a ‘gateway’ any more than marijuana is a ‘gateway drug.’ The gateway is the human condition with its propensity to over-indulge just about anything and everything in which it finds pleasure.

And therein lies the warning that Paul was giving as regards the selection of leaders for the churches—“not given to wine.”

If a leader has not yet learned how to control his appetites, he is not worthy of a position of leadership, for he sets an example for those who would follow him. (Now, don’t you go thinkin’ ‘bout your fat, overweight pastor, 'cause we all know that food is fun and good for you.)

One of the fruits of the spirit listed in Gal. 5:22-23 is ‘temperance,’ which is an old way of saying ‘self-control.’ It is also listed in Peter’s letter where he tells us of the things we are to “add to our faith.” (2 Pet. 1:6)

Self-control is the only one that is listed in both passages. It is of utmost importance for what would be considered a spiritual walk.

The idea of self-control takes us back to the previous article with its thought about having gained control over one’s own spirit (Pro. 25:28).

Each person may have a different approach to controlling their appetite for wine.
  • Some don’t like it 
  • Some abstain completely 
  • Some have learned by trial and error what is acceptable

The only set rule for the leader is to not be given to it—that is, not getting drunk. 

Ever. (not talking about pre-Christian here)

Drunk. 
Tipsy. 
High
Doesn’t matter.

They are all conditions which render dull the senses and thereby pervert judgment (Pro. 31:5).

Fortunately, in our modern society of strict fundamentalism, this particular requirement is hardly ever a problem, for most Christians would rather be caught dead than having anyone think they drink.

Does the candidate for leadership drink wine?

If so, so what?

That is not the issue.

The issue is
Is he given to it?



That’s what you need to discover.

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